What could be more fitting than afternoon tea in the very hotel where it first began, The Langham Hotel? What could be more British than being bang opposite the headquarters of the BBC? It is ideally positioned, tucked away just off Oxford Circus, one of the iconic landmarks of London’s West End. All within easy access to Regent’s Park for a stroll and the districts of Soho and Theatreland beyond. There’s shopping galore at the department stores Selfridges and Liberty’s. There’s more to find on Bond Street, Carnaby Street, and along the tasteful, characterful boutiques of Marylebone High Street.

Facing away from London’s hustle and bustle is The Langham, this vast solid edifice, part Italianate, part Gothic. It was Europe’s first grand hotel and opened in 1865 by The Prince of Wales. Conan Doyle used it as the setting for his Sherlock Holmes stories and Dickens mentions it in his London guide. It was the largest hotel in London at the time and took luxury to the next level, installing hydraulic lifts, air-conditioning electric lights, and, of course, inventing afternoon tea.

A maroon-coated doorman ushered me into a very different, new world. One of glamor and opulence. The orchids and blossoms in the foyer gave off the sweetest of aromas all beneath an artisan chandelier and amongst sturdy, stately marble pillars.

The Langham Hotel Interior

The elevators were leather-padded, marble-floored, and had painted mirrors. They took me out along a delightfully serene, calming green patterned corridor carpet to my room (whose starting rates for the 380 rooms and suites are from around $700).

One Bedroom Suite - Bedroom The Langham Hotel
One Bedroom Suite

I was struck by the gold curtains and matching chairs. I loved the mirrored sideboards, the thick piled carpet, the luxurious textures and stripes, the white leather headboard, the plush velvet furniture, and the sleek polished side tables. The coloring was taupe with a soft neutral palette of silver, gold, and all the lovely hues within that spectrum. I loved the Diptyque toiletries and the marble floor with its golden-patterned inlay separating my deep tub from my walk-in shower.

Palm Court Interior at The Langham Hotel
Palm Court

Through a grilled entrance I crossed into Palm Court, a high-ceilinged dining room with waterfall chandeliers where waiters in pink jackets were in attendance while a pianist tickled the ivories. All very regal and glamorous. High-backed circular white leather chairs surround a central display of pampas grass. Banana plants line the walls whose mirrors reflect gloriously across the hall’s marble flooring to suggest grandeur and elegance.

The Langham Hotel, Palm Court afternoon tea
Palm Court afternoon tea

Afternoon tea in Palm Court has turned into an art form: so rightfully proud is The Langham of its heritage. It’s where it all started over 150 years ago! It’s a hugely indulgent three-part performance of silver pots of tea with sandwiches, cakes, and then scones and the strawberry jam is not to be missed.

The Langham Hotel, The Wigmore Interior
The Wigmore Interior

Artesian is the hotel’s bar. It’s chic and low-lit with its horse-shaped lampshade and three eye-catching bespoke chandeliers. There’s even, round the corner, the hotel’s own British pub The Wigmore.

The Good Front Room at Night in Palm Court promotes contemporary Caribbean pictures by artist Caroline Chinakwe. Here amongst the jerk chicken, crispy spiced red snapper and rum cocktails was a buzzing atmosphere on a Sunday night. A very good sign as it played host to two different birthday parties. Clearly somewhere for a treat.

Opening shortly is Mimosa which will “bring the flavors and spirit of the French Riviera” as the brochure proudly declares. Michel Roux will continue to oversee the other restaurants and there’s even Sauce by The Langham, the hotel’s state-of-the-art cookery school.

Swimming Pool at The Langham Hotel
Swimming Pool

Discretely tucked away is the swimming pool which has an oriental feel with bamboo and bonsai trees. At the Chuan Spa, I was popped onto a heated table inside a sheet and duvet. The massage was performed in keeping with the five elements of Chinese medicine and was tailored according to how I felt on the day. A fragrance was then selected to enhance my well-being before my pressure points were massaged, cleared, and balanced.

One Bedroom Suite - Living Room at The Langham Hotel
One Bedroom Suite – Living Room at The Langham Hotel

There’s another retreat at The Langham Club, a light private lounge for residents only with a warming fire and snacks from which to graze across the day. The service throughout was extremely personable and children are well-catered for with “captivating Paddington” branded amenities and gifts. What a stylish hotel. So elegant and so luxurious.